Addiction Treatment in the UK

Nobody wants to be addicted to drugs. The issue is that once an addiction takes hold, it is extremely difficult for the user to stop using all by themselves. In England and Wales, 811,000 adults aged 16-59 take drugs more than once a month.* In England alone, in 2018-19, almost 200,000 people received drug treatment.** Fortunately, there are treatment approaches available through drug rehabilitation centres that help you in recovering from the physical addiction to and psychological dependence on substances. 


Treatment Options
Drug rehabilitation is a broad term that encompasses a variety of treatment services for drug addiction. Inpatient and outpatient services are widely available across the world. Different treatment options can be recommended by a healthcare professional following an initial and follow up assessment of your needs. Some options for recovery include medical assistance, residential drug rehab and detox, and sober living accommodation.

The type and length of treatment needed varies greatly from person to person. One person may choose or be recommended to take part in residential drug detox for a two-week course, followed by non-residential therapy and care. For another, the best option may be a month long stay in rehab or even longer, to build on their awareness of addiction and to allow more time for the development of the life skills necessary to maintain recovery. Outpatient care is usually what follows residential care, as it is less intensive than inpatient care but allows for a smoother transition back to normal life.

Drug rehab programmes differ in their approach, depending on the substance of abuse. Some are abstinence based, with the aim of clearing the substance out of the body so you can learn to live without it. Others focus on weaning you away from the substance, in cases in which abruptly stopping using the substance would be bad for your health. They use substitute substances - like methadone for heroin addiction - in order to reduce the harm posed by illegal drugs.

An important part of healing and recovery is your perspective. Recovery from addiction is not an overnight event, so having this kind of expectation about it is sure to cause more suffering, frustration, and disappointment. Instead of seeing it as an event, Psychotherapist Jason Shiers of UKAT tells us that “it is helpful to see addiction recovery as a process.”

If the goal is complete abstinence from drugs, then the treatment option that offers the best opportunity to achieve that goal is residential drug rehab. Residential treatment is effective because it offers a supportive and recovery-focused environment in which you can rely on professional assistance when needed. Good quality inpatient programmes generally have greater success rates than outpatient programmes, as they are more intensive and comprehensive.

Outpatient services are still a viable option, however, depending on your circumstances. For those with dependent family members, an outpatient programme can offer an opportunity to recover while still allowing you to take care of responsibilities outside of your own recovery.

[*] Drugs Misuse: Findings from the 2018/19 Crime Survey for England and Wales. (2019). [ebook] Available at: accessed 10/2/2020 
[**] GOV.UK. (2019). Adult substance misuse treatment statistics 2018 to 2019: report. [online] Available at: accessed 10/2/2020

*Collaborative Post